by Ken Dec, EVP Marketing & Client Strategies with The Expo Group
What are bots?
If you aren’t familiar with bots, bots are programs designed to engage with users in a sociable way while providing timely, accurate answers to questions or responding to specific user requests. Think of them as a kind of virtual assistant designed to answer frequently asked questions and provide easy access to searchable event information.
Bots can be programmed to answer many of the most common and frequent questions asked by exhibitors and attendees alike, for example:
- “How late is registration open today?”
- “Can I bring some of my booth materials through the front of the venue or do I have to bring everything in through the loading dock?”
- “Where can I get another wastebasket?”
- “When is the General Session on Wednesday?”
- “Where is lead retrieval?”
Early use of bots in event management indicates that somewhere between 60-90 of the same questions are asked (in various forms, which exponentially increases the response types) at every show by exhibitors and attendees.
Focus staff on higher value activities
By automating the responses to the most common, frequent questions, show managers, and the firms that service them, can keep staff available to focus on less common, more complex and/or higher value customer service tasks – both improving the attendee and exhibitor experience while lowering the cost of doing so.
Consistency of answers
Another benefit to using bots is the ability to answer common, frequent questions consistently. The answers aren’t dependent upon what staff member the inquirer may run into on the floor, whose ability to answer their specific question can vary.
Continuous experience improvement
Perhaps most importantly is the analytics employing a bot(s) can provide show managers. Bot programs provide dashboards and reporting on the most common questions asked and the number of IDKs (‘I don’t knows’) allowing you to a) optimize the performance of the bot on-the-fly during the show, and b) ensure that you program future bots based on previous event experience to optimize the next.
Bots for events is here
Text-based bots, enhanced with voice activation (think Alexa for the event experience) could quickly become the main event interface for both exhibitors and attendees- serving as a kind of personal event concierge that can answer questions quickly and correctly.
Using bots to effectively, efficiently and consistently provide timely, accurate responses to many of the most common and frequent questions delivers a superior event experience for exhibitors and attendees. Time to jump on board.